On Friday, December 20, 2013, I went to Gimbel and they made small, permanent holes in my eyes. No, seriously – they used a laser to punch holes in my irises, also called a laser iridotomy. This procedure is quite often used for people who have glaucoma, which results in increased pressure in the eye. The little holes allow another exit for the fluid in your eyes so that the pressure doesn’t build up. Because of the addition of a second lens into my eye in the ICL procedure, it can block the fluid from exiting in a normal manner, so the iridotomy is a precaution to lower the chance of increased pressure in the eye.
During my procedure, the left eye literally took two shots of the laser, the total number of holes put into the iris, whereas the right required about 20, and they hit a blood vessel. I guess it has to do with how well I manage to hold my eyes open and the angle of the hits – apparently my left was more cooperative than the right.
The following Monday was D-day. I arrived for my appointment quite early – which just left more time for panic. The pre-tests were quick and they gave me a mild sedative to calm my jitters, but not enough to put me out. I didn’t think it was working, but when I went to stand up to go into the operating room, I almost fell over. So, here’s my public service message: you likely can’t drive after having those few drinks, even if you “feel fine.”
There were a few of us in the waiting room as they could only do one of this type of procedure at once. While I was focusing on my tablet (with dilated eyes, n0t easy) in order to calm my nerves, I did listen to the conversations and chat a bit as well. A few were having cataracts removed (older people, naturally) while another gentleman was having a procedure similar to mine, although for correcting a different issue. We discovered that the people with cataracts could only have one eye done at once (because it is covered by healthcare) whereas those of us having elective procedures were having both eyes done at once. The things you learn.
The actual procedure was very interesting and less scary. It’s like when you close your eyes and rub them hard so that you see stars and colours (wait – nobody else did that? Who knows, maybe that’s why my corneas are so weird) but it went on for about 10 or 15 minutes per eye. They didn’t describe what was going on during the procedure but if it meant they were concentrating more on the surgery itself I was fine with that. They did the right eye first since the left is my dominant eye (despite being right-handed) and right away I could see more clearly out of the eye while they were prepping for the left; this made me very excited. In between eyes, the nurses and I chatted about what pie I was going to make for Christmas dinner. The left went very much like the right, although my vision wasn’t as clear immediately after the procedure.
The next day, I went back for an assessment. They told me my right eye was already 20/20 and my left was 20/40. The latter did not surprise me as I could tell that my right was much clearer than the left. Despite this, they gave me a letter that okayed me for driving without corrective lenses – it never occurred to me that people don’t need 20/20 vision in both eyes to drive. Who knew?
I struggled with not spending too much time on my phone, laptop, TV as I was off work the entire week, but having a puppy around helped with it a little (although perhaps not my stress levels or blood pressure). Despite being off work, we hosted my family for dinner twice and Matt’s for dinner once so it was a very busy time. I was a bit unnerved by my left eye still lagging behind the right, and going back to work January 2 and 3 made for uncomfortable work on the computer trying to focus, but about a week ago my left eye seemed to have caught up to my right, if not a little inconsistent – at times, especially if I’m tired or my eye is dry, it’s blurry but otherwise seems to be on par with my right.
My two- (actually three) week appointment confirmed this: I came out as perfect 20/20 vision. Yes, I know of people who’ve had better than perfect (after his eye surgery my dad had 20/15 in one eye) but I’m not going to be greedy! I am perfectly happy with 20/20; it is what my goal was. They had some concern about the amount of space between my natural and implanted lenses in my right eye at the appointment the day after the surgery, but after several tests today the doctor let me know that the space widened and they are not concerned about the possibility of cataract (which can occur if the two lenses rub together). The pressure in my eyes is also normal, which means that the iridotomies are doing their jobs.
So, all in all, everything seems to be going well. I am finished the medicated drops they prescribed for three weeks after the surgery, my eyes are humming along and they’ll see me again for my two-month check-up.
Thanks my mom and Matt for being a huge support – my mom was my chauffeur and Matt was my rock at home. And to my dad and sister for being understanding and listening to me earlier in the year, when it felt like the entire world was falling apart.
Was it worth it? Yes. I’m lucky that I was able to afford the procedure through a shrewd (but mostly lucky) investment situation. But I believe that not having to wear contacts 12-18 hours a day every day will result in healthier eyes in my future, and that being able to see without corrective lenses is safer in the long run.
And, with that, ends my eye saga.